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-able. this is right in front of us. we can do this. you know, this election is not just about these material issues. this election is about the fiber of our society. this election is about the kind of people we are going to be, the kind of country we're going to have. this country is an idea. that's something we can never forget. it is not new hampshire to california or florida to wisconsin. it is not just a nation with a flag. it is the only nation founded on an idea. that idea is very precious, but that idea can slip away from us if each generation doesn't defend the idea. the idea is very precious. the declaration of independence said it better than anybody can say it. our rights come from nature and nature's god, not from government. the minute we forget that idea, the minute we fore-- forget our country. our founders put that on the uniform so we can live in peace and freedom. and we thank them for what they have done to give us this country. [cheers and applause] that's why we have to win. that's why we're going to win. look. winston churchill said it best. "the americans can be counted upon
walter mondale. tonight's debate marks the third consecutive presidential election in which the league is presenting the candidates for the nation's highest office in face-to-face debate. our panelists are james wieghart, national political correspondent for scripps- howard news service, diane sawyer, correspondent for the cbs program "60 minutes,'' and fred barnes, national political correspondent for the baltimore sun. barbara walters of abc news, who is appearing in her fourth presidential debate, is our moderator. barbara. >> thank you, dorothy. a few words as we begin tonight's debate about the format. the position of the candidates -- that is, who answers questions first and who gives the last statement -- was determined by a toss of a coin between the two candidates. mr. mondale won, and that means that he chose to give the final closing statement. it means, too, that the president will answer the first question first. i hope that's clear. if it isn't, it will become clear as the debate goes on. further, the candidates will be addressed as they each wanted and will, therefore, b
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